Oedipus The King : A Tragic Hero

1541 Words Oct 13th, 2015 7 Pages
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) defines a tragic hero as one who possesses the characteristics of hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, and that the characters fate must be greater than deserved (Else). Since the main character in Sophocles’ classic tragedy Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King matches up to Aristotle’s definition, Oedipus certainly exemplifies what it is to be a “tragic hero.” The play’s protagonist Oedipus is revered as a good man and intelligent ruler who acts quickly to support Thebes- a city which is troubled by plague. This is demonstrated in the background notes that describe Oedipus saving the city from the curse of the sphinx and as a reward receiving the queen’s hand in marriage. The confrontation with the sphinx and the solving of the riddle is referred to multiple times throughout the play as a reminder of Oedipus’s intellect and ability to creatively solve problems. His people’s admiration is also suggested by the priest in lines 37-39 “We judge you the first of men in what happens in this life and in our interactions with the gods” (Sophocles). Creon, the brother-in-law of Oedipus, regards him as a great king which is shown by their multiple exchanges throughout the play. Another indication of Oedipus’s goodness is the respect shown by his wife Jocasta. These examples reveal that Oedipus is a good and noble king who is virtuous and respected by his people and his family. Sophocles uses Aristotle’s trait of hamartia (flaw or error in judgment) to bring a…
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